Physical education (PE) provides children with learning opportunities through the medium of movement and contributes to their overall development by helping them to lead full, active and healthy lives. The Physical Education Curriculum provides a balanced range of activities for children and encourages schools to adopt a flexible approach in planning for PE.
The Physical Education Curriculum includes six strands:
- Outdoor and adventure activities
The Athletics strand incorporates a range of activities including running, jumping and throwing. These activities provide children with individual challenges and motivate them to participate in more formalised approaches to athletics in later stages of physical development.
Dance in the Physical Education Curriculum encourages children to improve body management skills, to understand movement, to work with others and to develop creativity and imagination.
Gymnastics focuses on body actions such as jumping, turning, swinging and balancing. This strand is also concerned with the control and management of body movements in increasingly challenging situations.
Involving children in games enables them to appreciate and enjoy games both as participants and as spectators.
The outdoor and adventure activities strand is a new aspect of the curriculum. Schools can plan for walking, cycling, orienteering and other outdoor challenges suited to children’s needs, interests and circumstances.
The aquatics programme involves not only teaching children how to swim but promoting children’s enjoyment of water-based activities also. The curriculum stresses the importance of play in the development of competence in the water.